Goalkeeper Trevor Stiles’ two-goals helped Canada come from behind to beat Venezuela side 2-1 in the classification round of the Cerebral Palsy Football World Championships at St George’s Park in Burton upon Trent in England.
Venezuela looked to be on their way to earning a first victory of the tournament when Jessi Junior Yari Villegas gave his side the lead 20 minute into the contest.
But Stiles justified his manager’s decision to move him outfield in the second half by scoring twice to enhance his team’s chances of finishing ninth.
He equalised with a well-struck volley just after the restart before he scored a second eight minutes later to set up a meeting with Portugal in the next round, who hammered Japan 6-2.
Both teams had failed to find the net so far in the competition but they were involved in an entertaining match.
Tiago Ramos was the star of the show for the Portuguese side as he netted a first-half hat-trick, while Pedro Santos and Hugo Pinheiro also got on the scoresheet in a rampant display from their team in the opening period.
Testament to the character of the Japanese, who were hammered by both England and Ukraine in the group stage, they came out for the second half with renewed purpose, despite Vitor Vilarinho adding a sixth shortly after the break.
Taisei Taniguchi scored his team’s first of the tournament by blasting home from close range and Tetsuya Toda then arrowed a shot from distance into the top corner to salvage some pride for the Japanese team.
In the other match to take place today, Scotland edged Northern Ireland with a narrow 2-1 win, and they will now go on to face Australia, with the winner of that match taking on the victor of the Canada versus Portugal contest.
The Scots went in front early on thanks to Jamie Mitchell’s neat finish, but Northern Ireland, who were denied a place in the quarter-finals in agonising fashion after Argentina fought back from 3-1 down to salvage a point in their last group game, levelled on 11 minutes through Jordan Walker.
Mark Robertson then came off the bench to seal a late victory for the Scots with a perfectly-executed free-kick which sailed into the net.
The tournament is due continue tomorrow with the quarter-finals as The Netherlands entertain the United States, Brazil clash with South American rivals Argentina, Russia play hosts England and Ukraine go up against the Republic of Ireland.
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